Real Madrid took the El Clasico’s honours, RB Leipzig slipped up in the Bundesliga title race while Atalanta scored seven for the third time in Serie A this season in an entertaining weekend of football across Europe. Here are the Winners and Losers: February 29 – March 1. Bet on football here.
Real Madrid moved to the top of La Liga with a hard-fought 2-0 win over arch-rivals Barcelona in a cagey El Clasico. Real’s victory means they lead the standings on 56 points after 26 games, with Barca slipping to second spot on 55. Real ended a run of two straight defeats and registered their first win over Barca at Santiago Bernabeu in three attempts. Following December’s 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou, 2019/20 is the first season Barca have failed to score in either Clasico since 1975. Perhaps one notable takeaway for this match was the abject display of Lionel Messi. The Barca talisman has not scored in La Liga away from the Camp Nou since December 1 and looked lethargic physically, while also failing to cope with the intensity.
Olympique Lyon followed their midweek Champions League win over Juventus with a comfortable 2-0 win over bitter derby rivals Saint-Etienne on Sunday in the Rhone Derby. The win lifted Rudi Garcia’s men up to fifth in France’s top flight, boosting their hopes of Champions League football next season. This was their third straight win and despite having an underwhelming season, they’re just seven points behind Rennes who sit in the last UCL spot.
Free-scoring Atalanta scored seven goals in a match for the third time in the Serie A this season when they hammered Lecce 7-2 away from home. The game was 2-2 at half time but a devastating 15-minute spell early in the second half saw them score three, while adding two late in the game. Atalanta, who are fourth in the table, have now scored 70 goals in Serie A. They were last season’s Italian top goalscorers with 77 goals. The team also won 7-1 at home to Udinese in October and 7-0 at Torino in January. Prior to this season, the last time they hit seven in a league game was almost seven decades ago.
RB Leipzig title hunt
RB Leipzig’s Bundesliga title hint was dealt a minor blow by Bayer Leverkusen who held them to a 1-1 draw. With reigning champions Bayern Munich having won 6-0 on Saturday to move four points clear at the top, Julian Nagelsmann’s men could only cut the gap by one a day later. They now sit second in the table, three points behind Bayern, with Borussia Dortmund and Monchengladbach hot on their heels. They can ill-afford any more slip ups if they want to break Bayern’s monopoly.
AZ Alkmaar produced a magnificent performance to beat Ajax 2-0 in Eredivisie’s top-of-the-table clash at the Johan Cruijff Arena. The win saw AZ move level on points with Erik Ten Hag’s men but remain second due to an inferior goal difference. Both sides went into this match following an awful outing in Europe where they were both dumped out of the Europa League. This was Ajax’s third defeat in four games. Can they weather AZ’s storm and defend their title?
Barcelona were knocked off their perch at the top of La Liga on Sunday as they fell 2-0 to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the El Clasico. Whilst they did much better in the first half, they were poor in the second half and had Marc Andre Ter Stegen to thank for some stunning saves. They were overrun in midfield and Quique Setien couldn’t hatch a plot for his side to get back into the game. Along with Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti were poor.